x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Man charged with attempting to sexually assault UAE employee

Tunisian woman claims she was offered a job and then cornered in the Pakistani man's flat.

DUBAI // A restaurant owner who met a Tunisian woman on Facebook and told her he would give her a job in the UAE has been charged with kidnapping and attempting to sexually assault her.

The 45-year-old Pakistani, AA, pressed the woman, 28, against a wall in a small flat, telling her she was beautiful and that he wanted her to be his girlfriend. She screamed and threatened to jump out of the window and so he retreated to another room.

The pair first met on the social networking website in November last year. AA told the woman that he owned a number of restaurants in Dubai then offered to hire her as a waitress or an accountant.

"I agreed and he managed to get me a work visa, then sent me a ticket," said the woman, adding that when she arrived on February 13 he met her at Dubai airport and told her he was her sponsor. He then took her in his car to a restaurant in Jumeirah, which he told her he owned.

The two had dinner before AA told the woman he would take her to her accommodation with the restaurant's employees.

"He parked his car and took me to a one-bedroom apartment and I was surprised that employees would share such a small flat, so I asked him about that and he said that employees' accommodation was not suitable for my status," she said.

The Tunisian added that the man said she would reside with him in the flat but she refused, describing it as inappropriate and intended to leave before flying back to her home country.

"He calmed me down then stood so close to me as I leant on the wall and said I was so beautiful and asked me why I wasn't married until now, then said I would be his girlfriend," the woman said. She told the court how she started screaming and threatening that she would throw herself from the window if he came near her.

AA left her and went to the bedroom while she spent the night awake and crying. In the morning, he took her to the restaurant's accommodation, as he planned to cancel her visa and get her a plane ticket to Tunisia.

"I met an employee who told me this is a country of law and advised me to head to the police, which I did," she said.

AA denied a charge of kidnap with intention to sexually assault the woman. "I have a witness who can prove I'm innocent," he said in court.

The next hearing will be on April 28.

salamir@thenational.ae